Shakespeare's Globe

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“When we’re outside we have all the elements, it becomes really real. You get an idea of what it may have been like in Shakespeare’s time.”
In his final interview, Joseph discusses his favourite moments of the play and the audience’s reactions to him as Lear as the tour comes to the Globe.

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Time: 5 minutes 18 seconds

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Transcript of Podcast

Rachel Ely:

So how was your first performance in Lear at the Globe?

Joseph Marcell:

My first performance in Lear at the Globe was really exciting! We had to adapt the staging of the play to the larger stage. As you know it’s a touring production and it’s small, and one of the great difficulties we discovered were the distances between actors. But we are told that we managed very well. But most of all the audiences reaction to the play has been unparalleled. Just wonderful. The groundlings, the people sitting in the Lord’s seats, the gentleman’s boxes and stuff they just loved it. And it’s been marvellous, truly marvellous.

RE:

I saw you in Tech the other day, and saw the distance and was like ‘I have to run really really far!’

JM:

Yeah! ‘Hello! Can you hear me! Where are you I can’t see you I’m behind this pillar!’

RE:

Seems like it has worked out well though.

JM:

It has so far thank heavens.

RE:

What reactions have you had from the audience?

JM:

Oh the audiences, their reactions. I suffer the problem that a lot of the people have only seen ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air’. You have that thing where they say ‘oh yeah you’re gonna be like Jeffrey’. And you say well this is King Lear, this is not the Fresh Prince. But they love it. And I think Shanaya who plays Regan, a member of the audience got her and said ‘you must not be so bad to Jeffrey’. Which is like ‘woah! Leave him alone! He is good he is the king you must not be so rude to him.’

RE:

At the end of the show?

JM:

Yeah.

RE:

That is a reaction!

JM:

That is a reaction yep! I think they love me I dunno…

RE:

Are they reacting in ways during the performance that you expected?

JM:

We’ve played in some unusual places, we’ve played in Turkey, in Adana and Istanbul, where there were surtitles above us while we were talking. So you could see people’s eyes looking up just to see what we were saying. And yet they reacted to the action of the play in many cases rather than what we were saying. Yet there were people who understood what was going on. In Margate they were more interested in the fact that the Globe had come to Margate, how proud they were of us [being there]. In Bristol they willing to show us how expert they were at Shakespeare, they knew everything so they reacted to everything. In the Globe they know the ethos of the Globe, what is stands for, and so they were into the play, into William Shakespeare’s King Lear. And perfection yeah. Actions were precise, in the right place, it has been – our second performance – just lovely.

RE:

And how are the Globe’s distractions like birds and helicopters and…

JM:

Well this is interesting. This is the first matinee I’ve done at the Globe where we’ve not had helicopters. We’ve had pigeons, no helicopters. We’ve had rain – twice – but we’ve not had many aeroplanes, I’m sure that’ll come. We have three more performances so I’m sure that’ll come. We’ll have the aeroplanes, the changing of the routes, and all that. But so far these two performances it has been yeah, quite nice. Although you hear the boats over on the river…

RE:

But that’s quite nice. Now my last question, what is your favourite moment in the play?

JM:

Good lord, my favourite moment in the play…there are so many. As Lear one of my favourite moments is the storm. Because that is the most challenging. Another is – you see I don’t have one favourite moment – another is the opening where he comes in and apportions the kingdom. That’s hard too. But truly my favourite moment is the mock trial where he’s absolutely crackers and there’s kind of slapstick chaos, that is really really fun to do. It’s fun, it’s weird and it’s strange, and it’s very short!

RE:

Bethan was telling me that for the first time you had rain during the storm today.

JM:

Ohh yes we had rain during the storm today. We almost made it in Hodsock in Nottinghamshire, the rain ceased just as the storm started. But today we had the rain, it was lovely it really was lovely. I kept running in and they kept pulling me back, running into the rain and pulling me back. It’s interesting that the venues we are playing King Lear in – when we’re in theatres it becomes a different piece. When we’re outside we have all the elements- we have the wind and the rain and the noises and the cows mooing and the sheep bleating and stuff. It becomes really real, you get a feeling and an idea of what it would may have been like in Shakespeare’s time.

RE:

Only smelling a bit nicer…

JM:

Yeah!

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